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Microfinance Institution Goes Digital to Educate Migrant Factory Workers

On March 13, on the heels of a new financial product designed specifically for factory workers in Yangon’s industrial zones, VisionFund Myanmar (VFM), the second largest microfinance institution in Myanmar, recently partnered with Opportunities NOW (ONOW), to launch ‘Mr.Finance VFM’ – a ground-breaking chatbot platform that provides user-friendly financial literacy to microfinance borrowers.

The innovation takes advantage of Myanmar’s historic rise in smart phone adoption and clients’ eagerness for cutting-edge education. The partnership between VFM and ONOW reflects core beliefs that financial health must combine financial inclusion with financial literacy. VisionFund Myanmar’s Chief Operations Officer Guerol Michael Sari says: “Client education is a key strength of our organization and a core part of our mission to bring financial services to underserved clients and communities in Myanmar. With ONOW we found a social partner, with whom we can give our clients additional access to financial education via Facebook messenger, which they can also share with other friends and colleagues. Client education is a key part of our technology strategy, which aims to  support effective financial literacy.” Opportunities NOW Co-founder a n d E x e c u t i v e D i r e c t o r M a t t Wallace added, “We’re passionate about Financial Education that is emotionally engaging, timely, and simple. These are achieved through the first financial literacy chatbot platform in the world, Mr. Finance. We’re excited to partner with VisionFund Myanmar to bring these tools to thousands of microfinance clients, knowing VFM is a partner that is changing lives in the most difficultto-reach parts of Myanmar. This combination of access-to-finance and digital-first financial literacy is an important step in that effort.”

Through ONOW’s chatbot platform ‘Mr. Finance VFM’, clients obtaining the factory worker loan will be able to learn about VFM’s financial products and procedures, complete interactive financial education training modules, and qualify for finance via certificates of completion verified by VFM officers. The features of the platform are aimed at building resilience through interactive learning; from simple advice and practical steps on how to improve the user’s financial situation, to short and actionable reminders, and an interactive game that borrowers can relate to – where users help a woman along her business journey with business and financial management concepts taught along the way.

VisionFund Myanmar is known for its emphasis on providing quality financial services to underserved communities with a special focus on empowering women. As a subsidiary of World Vision, the MFI’s vision is to ensure the wellbeing of children in poor communities through its microfinance work.

VisionFund has been operating in Myanmar since 2015 and currently serves 174,870 clients through 45 branches.